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Overwatch Artist Explains Why New Hero Sigma Has Bare Feet

Sigma has officially arrived inside Overwatch and is playable now on the game's PTR servers. And from what we've gathered thus far, it seems players have taken to Overwatch's newest hero. But there is one detail that sticks out about Sigma; a detail some can't quite get past.


People are really taking issue with Sigma's bare feet, according to Polygon.

Whether it's the strangeness of seeing uncovered feet on a man in an otherwise heavily armored suit, or something else entirely, some players have been vocal about how much they don't like Sigma's design. So when fans of Overwatch made remarks about Sigma's feet on ArtStation, where a Blizzard artist published some of his Sigma artwork, that designer took the opportunity to explain his thinking behind leaving Sigma's shoes off.

"Thanks for your feedbacks!" artist Qiu Fang said. "We decided to keep the bare feet to sell the 'asylum' look a bit more; in many institutions, patients are not allowed to have shoes because they might cause harm with the laces. While Sigma isn't necessarily in danger of that, we felt that having no shoes helped draw that connection."


Fang went on to state that there were early Sigma concepts that showed the character wearing shoes, but they were ultimately tossed aside because they made the character look "generic." He did note, however, that skins could come out for Sigma in the future that do feature shoes. So bright side: those who don't want to see Sigma's toes might only be an event away from getting a brand-new skin for the character.

But the story doesn't end there. Some have really keyed on on the "asylum" explanation offered up by Sigma's artist. They're now criticizing Blizzard for, as Polygon put it, adding a character detail that could "help reinforce stigma around mental illness." And they're taking to Twitter to make their voices heard.

"I'm struggling to coherently describe my anger towards Sigma's 'asylum look' but really?" wrote one Twitter user. "Barefoot to 'represent' the no laces rules in mental hospitals, facilities, and asylums?"

"I hate how Blizzard is using this 'asylum aesthetic' to explain why Sigma is barefoot," wrote another. "Why not just say he's levitating and doesn't care/walk? Saying asylum and making that the main message is just insulting and wrong."

"Now that I'm done just yelling," added a third, "Sigma personally strikes me as both very gross from a mental health perspective and narratively boring and redundant. We've seen this in a million sci-fi movies, novels, comics, etc. And Moira already exists as a scary science hero."


But not everyone sees a problem with the way Sigma has been portrayed thus far. In fact, some even believe those complaining about Sigma's look are taking the matter a little too seriously.

"Hot Take," wrote one person on Twitter. "People who think Sigma is some kind of attack on people suffering mental health issues might be looking too hard for a battle to fight. May as well go burn Batman's entire rogues gallery or... well, half the villains in existence."

"Sigma is barefoot because he's in a mental asylum and people really mad he's based on some mental health problems?" added another. "You wanted inclusion now you're mad?"

At this point in time, Blizzard has yet to comment on the dual controversies surrounding Sigma's design. On one side, some people just really don't like him barefoot, plain and simple. They want him wearing shoes. They don't want to see feet. On the other side, some are put off by the way Sigma's bare feet are an indicator that he's suffering from some kind of mental health condition. It's an aspect of his design that might have flown under the radar had it not been mentioned. But now that a Blizzard artist has gone ahead and made the connection, some players find it highly insensitive.


This will likely continue to be a story in the days ahead; at least until Blizzard has something to say about it. We wouldn't be totally surprised if the company addresses Sigma's look — and the artist's rationale for his design — at some point in the near future.

In any case, now you know why Sigma's shoes have gone missing. If Blizzard has anything to add as a company, we'll make sure you get an update.